We see it every single day- stories about politics flood our Twitter timelines, our Facebook feeds, and even our late night television talk shows. With that comes the constant pressure to stay informed with the latest political news.
But what happens when it all just gets to be too much? The constant exposure to political news (the good, the bad, and the ugly) can feel overwhelming and cause a ton of anxiety. When talking with friends recently, we all agreed that it was becoming harder and harder to keep up with the chaotic political climate while also preserving our own mental health.
So how do you stay in the know without going absolutely crazy doing it? I’ve got some tips that might just help you stay informed but still be able to sleep at night.
Turn Off News Notifications
Specifically, on iPhone, the news app delivers top news right to your front screen making it impossible to avoid. When the words “North Korea” appear in one of those headlines, I can personally feel my own breath hitch and the slight panic start to rise. Turning news notifications OFF without deleting the app means you can go to read the news when you’re mentally prepared to instead of having your day derailed at 2pm because you saw a stressful story on your screen.
Pick One Specific Cause
The problem many of us are facing is that we are so concerned about everything that we feel absolutely helpless to do anything. This helplessness can easily spiral you into a bad headspace and leave you feeling useless. To combat this, pick one topic that you’re super passionate about. Is it women’s rights? Maybe it’s immigration policy. Find your niche and then find some established organizations already tackling these issues. Help by donating, volunteering, or showing up to a protest.
Know How to Spot Fake News
Some of the biggest stressors out there come from completely false headlines. It’s important to train yourself to look at the source website first before looking at the article. Sites like The Onion, Newslo, and USPOLN all publish fake and satirical content. However, it isn’t out of the ordinary to see stories from those sites posted on Facebook with all seriousness. Don’t let a headline cause your anxiety to spike- take a breath, check the source, and stick to reading news from trusted sources.
Curate Your Social Media Feeds
I recently unfollowed a handful of news sources on Twitter as I recognized I was getting the same stories over and over again written in different ways. Getting hit with politics, politics, politics over and over again without a break isn’t healthy. There needs to be a better balance. If your friends retweet the crucial news, then there isn’t a need to follow news sources. If certain people on your Facebook timeline post politics and others post about their lives, sort them using the “Friends List” feature. This way, you can carve time to read your friends’ opinions on the news while also being able to take a break and just focus on other topics.
And at the end of the day, if all else fails, put on a face mask and toss back a glass of wine. The political news isn’t going anywhere but it doesn’t hurt to take some time for self-care.